tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS December 6, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
>> pelley: tonight, would america go to war in syria? the u.s. is spying on the ctator's chemical weapons. there's new intelligence on that and word that syria may be losing its best ally. david martin at the pentagon, margaret brennan with hillary clinton, and elizabeth palm wer a rare look inside the war. >> reporter: in the hospital's intensive care unit, the men can't speak but their injuries do. >> pelley: today, the first state in the nation has legalized marijuana for recreational use, leaving cops and citizens with lots of questions. john blackstone clears the air. and what town has the winningest football team in the nation? wyatt andrews takes us to a community on hard times now riding high. >> one, two, three.
captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. whether the u.s. enters the war in syria appears to be up to the dictator bashar al-assad. on monday, david martin reported that the assad regime had given orders to prepare chemical weapons for possible use to put down the revolt that has been raging in that country for more than a year and a half. president obama said the use of these weapons of mass destruction would be totally unacceptable. well, tonight, david has new intelligence to report, and we have three stories on the breaking news in syria. we'll start with martin at the pentagon. >> reporter: u.s. intelligence so far has not detected any signs syria is loading chemical weapons on to aircraft, but defense secretary panetta said it appears the embattled assad regime is preparing to do just that. >> there is no question that we
remain very concerned, very concerned that as the opposition advances, in particular on damascus, that the regime might very well consider the use of chemical weapons. >> reporter: monitoring of syrian basis like this one has pekd up evidence engineers have loaded the chemicals which combine to form the deadly nerve agent sarin, into bombs that could be dropped airplanes. satellites have seen trucks moving among want bunkers where the weapons and agents are believed to be stored. u.s. officials say the evidence is strong but circumstantial, not definitive. but that, combined with fighting ifighting in the suburbs of damascus, has led to fears of what the assad regime might do. we asked jeffrey white, a former analyst for the defense intelligence agency, what would happen if the rebels cut off damascus? >> it's the end of the regime. the regime can hang on for a while because it has troops in the city.
it has ammunition and supplies and so on but it means the city will fall. it cannot stand alone. >> reporter: u.s. intelligence does not believe damascus is likely to fall right away, but white had an estimate. >> you can feel it. you can sense it. it looks like the regime's being defeated, not tomorrow, maybe, but not too far off, i think. >> reporter: can you put a time frame on it? >> i'm thinking in the next couple of months. >> reporter: the syrian government has vowed not to use chemical weapons against its own people, but it regards the opposition as foreign terrorists. >> pelley: david, thank you. those so-called foreterrorists are actually the syrian people who rose up against the 41-year-old assad family dictatorship. it's estimated 40,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians. one reason assad has held on-- he's had the support of russia, but that may be changing. in ireland today, secretary of state hillary clinton, met with the russian foreign minister. it happened at a meeting of the organization for security and
cooperation in europe, known as the ocof sce, and margaret brennan is covering for us tonight. margaret. >> reporter: well, scott, officials familiar with those talks say the russians now think that bashar al-assad may not survive the war, and they want to have influence in syria if his regime falls, or if he loses control of the chemical weapons inside of his country. u.s. officials are particularly concerned that those weapons could fall into the hands of an al qaeda affiliate active within syria. >> pelley: so what's coming next? >> reporter: well, it's a start to a new round of diplomacy. the russians have refused to meet for months, but this is not a breakthrough. the russians are signaling they're willing to help with the political transition, but they are still officially supporting assad. secretary clinton says the russians have refused to give him asylum. other countries have offered, but so far, he is not negotiating his exit. assad has vowed to fight to the death. >> pelley: margaret, thank you. when the syrian people first
rose up it looked like a mismatch. they had rifles against one of the largest armies in the region. syrian towns have been turned into rubble, and the rebels are in the suburbs of the capital damascus now. it is rare for reporters to reach the war zone, but elizabeth palmer managed to get to the dictatorship's main military hospital to look at the damage being inflicted on assad's army. >> reporter: the tishereen it hospital morgue in northern damascus now receives between 20 and 50 bodies every day. most of them are soldiers. though, some civilians do end up here, too. the man in the coffin is adnan said, a civil servant who was 30 years old. outside, his mother and brother have just learned that he was killed by a sniper on his way to work. in the hospital's intensive care unit, the men can't speak, but their injuries do. inflicted by rocket-propelled
gre neighbors bombes, and automatic riflees, they show the anti-regime fighters have, for the most part, simple weapons but deadly aim. 60% of these patients have bullet wounds, and in a sharply growing trend, they were shot in and around the capital. the fighting has now come so close to the main military hospital here in damascus, that no one feels safe, not even the medical staff. still, few here are prepared to admit that this is a civil war, syrians against syrians. least of all, the wounded soldiers who blame islamist terrorists. this i didn't think soldier, waiting to have two fingers amputated after a rocket attack, insists troop moral is high, and his friend agrees. if that's true, i asked, why do so many soldiers dessert? "sometimes they're forced to," they tell me.
terrorists kidnap the soldiers' family members and threaten to kill them otherwise. after the surgery, this man wants to go straight back to the fight. but the way things are going, the fight it is on its way to him. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, damascus. >> pelley: well the fight has come to egypt in the worst crisis there since the revolution two years ago. egypt's first elected president, mohamed morsi, wanted to bring calm with a televised address tonight. he didn't. last month, morsi granted himself near-absolute power. thousands of protesters are demanding that morsi scrap a proposed new constitution that they fear will take away many of their rights. holly williams is in cairo for us tonight. holly. >> reporter: well, scott, some people here thought that after days of protest and bloodshed, president morsi would make a major concession tonight, but what he did offer won't be enough theirs opponents.
they wanted him to immediately give up all of the sweeping new powers that he gave himself two weeks ago, and they wanted him to postpone a referendum on egypt's new constitution, which is due to take place in under 10 days' time. they say that constitution doesn't protect the rights of all egyptians. but president morsi didn't do either of these things. instead, he offered to give up just one of his new powerses, a vaguely worded right to take all necessary steps to protect the country. he said he'd give up all the other powers once the referendum has taken place. >> pelley: so, holly, what's the reaction been on the street? >> reporter: well, there were thousands of anti-morsi protesters outside the presidential palace tonight. they listened to president morsi's speech and they clearly didn't like what they heard. many of them began chanting a slogan we heard during the egyptian revolution-- "the people want the downfall of the regime." some people took off their shoes and held them over their heads, a clear sign of disrespect aimed at president morsi. so there is every indication
that egypt's political strife is going to continue. >> pelley: holly, thank you. one of the leading conservatives on capitol hill is stepping down. republican senator jim demint of south carolina is leaving to headline the heritage foundation, a conservative think tank. the announcement was a surprise so we asked congressional correspondent nancy cordes to look into it for us. flan see. >> reporter: scott, can jim demint is a hero to many on the right, and many here on capitol hill were stunned today because he's in the middle of his second term. demint say staunch, small-government conservative who is known for block democratic and many republican initiatives. that made him a start tea party movement and a powerful fund-raiser for tea party candidates. demint was one of the earliest backers of florida senator marco rubio. but demint has also angered party leaders by supporting far right candidates who lost their general elections. >> i'm not a witch. >> reporter: candidated like
christine o'donnell of delaware, who in 2010, aired an ad assuring voters she was not a witch. demint says he can be a more effective communicator of conservative ideas by leading a think tank. he will also get a hefty race. the current president of the her tan foundation makes more than $1 million a year. a u.s. senator, scott, makes $174,000. >> pelley: nancy, thank you. washington state's new marijuana law went into effect today, make together first state to legalize the drug for recreational use for people 21 or older. john blackstone tells us those that are supposed to enforce law are a little foggy on the details. >> reporter: at seattle police headquarters, jonah spangenthal lee was given the task of explaining the state state's new marijuana law on an online guide. >> what do you call it? mari-what? the guide to legal pot use in
seattle. >> reporter: a lot of people are saying, thattix. it will take a year for the state to write regulations for selling marijuana illegally. for now, that leaves some confusion gaffes. for example, it's still illegal to smoke pot publicly, but last night teem peepdid. let me get this straight-- you can possess it, you can buy it, but nobody is allowed to sell it. >> that's correct. >> reporter: and nobody is allowed to grow it right now, either. >> that's correct as well. >> reporter: so how do you get legal pot? >> i couldn't tell you. >> reporter: the new law passed with 56% of the vote. supporters say it the save police time and money. since 2001, more than 130,000 people have been arrested in washington state for marijuana possession. legal marijuana sales could also generate washington $500 million a year in taxes and business. opponents worry legalization will lead to more people using drugs. >> this is not what you're going to pick up in a baggy at the corner. >> absolutely not.
it's the complete opposite. >> reporter: jamen shively, a former microsoft executive, has plans for up-market marijuana shops. >> we're positioning premium marijuana, very similar to a fine cognac, a fine cigar, something to be safeord, something to be consumed in moderation by responsible adults. >> reporter: new stores would be modeled after those in many states it for alcohol. by next month, a similar law will go into effect in colorado, where residents will be allowed to grow their own marijuana. but all those plans could go up in smoke because of federal w. the justice department said it's studying the situation here in washington, but, scott, want feds have already warned residents of this state, under federal law all marijuana use remains illegal. >> pelley: plenty of room for confusion. thanks very much, john. a change may be coming in the treatment of depression. software tycoon john mcphee goes to jail, and then the hospital. and the duchess of cambridge
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drugs, which can take months to kick in. dr. gerard sanacora of yale university is leading one of the trials. >> the exciting part of some of these newer medications is they might, in fact, produce very rapid antidepressant effects, within hours or days. >> reporter: this new approach was discovered by accident when doctors noticed that anesthesia drug, ketamine, that targets glutamate, relieved depression. but it also caused symptoms that mimicked schizophrenia. dr. ron burke has been developing it glix-13. >> we found it has a very nice antidepressant effect, lasts for several days after a single dose, and with no side effects will of schizophrenia at all. >> reporter: in one study, patients taking an experimental drug had a 40% improvement in symptoms compared to 24% on placebo. jim staples participated in the trial. >> my hope is that the trial drug will in time be the last
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connection with the murder of a neighbor. the expectant duchess of cambridge got out of the hospital today after getting treatment for acute morning sickness. the former kate middleton will need plenty of rest in the weeks ahead, but prince william likely won't be by her side. he has to report for duty with the royal air force. you can't win without a "can't lose" attitude. we'll meet a high school football team thats that and the home town that inspires it, football team thats that and the home town that inspires it, next. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke. [ gps ] turn left. i don't think so. [ male announcer ] for years, bob took warfarin, and made a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but not anymore. bob's doctor recommended a different option: once-a-day xarelto®. xarelto® is the first and only
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>> reporter: clairton, pennsylvania, is a proud steel mill town, but more than 10,000 jobs have been lost over decades. poverty is double the national average. and most of downtown is boarded up. the one public school is so small, the state might have closed it by now except for one extraordinary thing. the clairton bears high school football team. this weekend, the bears are in the play-offs to win a fourth straight state championship, and their winning streak of 61 games is the best in america. >> we're makg history. we're making a name for ourselves. >> reporter: one of the team's stars, 17-year-old terrish webb, says the secret is the team's seniors. they've played together since they were six years old in midget football and grew up determined to win for themselves and for the town. >> if we lose, that's actually letting them down, so we owe it to the town to win. >> reporter: somebody might be
inclined to ask you, "hey, son, it's just football." >> i think it's more than football. this football has taken us to college, helping us on the right path. so we think football is life. people may be arguing in the streets but on friday night, it everybody chants for the bears. >> reporter: part of the team's motivation is escaping the violence on the streets of clairton. one of their coaches was killed four years ago. webb's father was murdered when terrish was 11. do you, about your dad when you play? >> yes, every game. >> one, two, three. >> bearses! >> now webb and several seniors have scholarship offers and all 16 seniors have the grades and ambition to move on. how many of you are going to college? 100% of you are going to college? >> yes. >> reporter: congratulations. and that has made them role models for future generations of bears. tom mccloskey, a clairton graduate, is now the school's
principal. i keep hearing a word about the senior class-- respectful. >> to themselves, to the community, to adults, and to their younger classmen. >> reporter: is that unusual? >> i think it's unusual to see it in this many kids for this long of a time. >> reporter: it's a lot to ask teenagers to improve a town and never lose, but that's who the clairton bears are, and the place long known for turning coal into hardened steel has done it again in the form of young men. wyatt andrews, cbs news, clairton, pennsylvania. >> pelley: ands that's cbs evening news for tonight. we're going to leave you now with "thursday night lights." the first family turned on the lights this evening on the national christmas tree across from the white house. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is 9 news now. tonight we are just 25 days way from those mandatory budget -- away from those mandatory budget hikes and tax cuts that have come to be known as the fiscal cliff and today republicans stood by their offer to close some tax loopholes and limit deductions and called on the for the give them a new plan that the congress could. president obama spent his day with the santana family of falls church and he says they're members of the middle class and they'll be hit hard if congress fails to extend their tax cuts. meantime virginia could be hit hard if those spending cuts end up taking place especially in places like fairfax county where federal contracting is king. >> if you go make the kind of cuts that some are suggesting happen, then you're really hurting a lot of the small buss